I dreamed of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

This morning, early,
as traffic stirred on Bridge Street
and currents slid in darkness
through silent rocks to the sea,
I dreamed of Lawrence Ferlinghetti
in the way that good dreams rise
like syrups up through light
from snows and copper boilers
when winters die and
maples weep with joy at the
break-up of all rivers and
the raging conception of spring,
his voice that lovely
essence of many years,
gilding gathered shadows on
a curtained Manhattan evening,
gracing a continent that
cracks forever beneath itself,
and goes on cracking,
eyes twinkling on the
crest of long applause,
survivor of all Hoovers and
the long dead hand of state,
absinthe in the glass of night,
mysterious and full,
descendent of Rimbaud,
father of Hibbing’s child,
shepherd of Ginsberg
and all the holy city lights
of San Francisco by the sea,
breathlike as the birches
along the Merrimack where
Kerouac weaved at dawn
and was laid inside the earth
by old brick smokestacks
next to farm girls who
fell exhausted into looms
and fed the awful sins of America,
sins recalled at North Beach
and in the flickering clubs
and on all the Coney Islands
where poets climb to high wires
and leap to the arms of jazz club girls
with bad teeth in the morning.
He inhabits haunted turnpikes
that hack at the hearts of men
and bring good women down,
holding pens and brushes high,
exhorting all, forgiving all
but the crime of not bearing witness.
I saw him walking up my street
in the palest hue of morning,
inhaling gentle ethers
and cradling the alphabet.
He threw a paper on my porch,
filled up with his best words,
and walked on through the park
and over the quivering dam,
vanishing in a black beret
by the old stone mill
where waters slide
across the sacred earth
and wheat spills down like honey
and is made to dance upon the chaff.

© 2011